Game Review: Deus Ex Mankind Divided

Based on my favorable experience with the previous entry in the Deus Ex universe, I was pretty certain I’d dig this game, but I waited a long time to buy it. I had just finished playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and, while stealth action is one of my favorite genres, I was worried I’d be too fatigued on that type of game to trult enjoy Deus Ex. Thus, the long wait to jump in. I was further rewarded for my patience by another price drop ($20) to boot!

But enough about that – On to the review!

It plays and feels just like an extension of its predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The control scheme is a little different (and a little less clunky), so it took me some getting used to, but overall it’s still very solid.

You get tossed into an action sequence pretty early on, which was kind of jarring for me since I don’t really play Deus Ex for the action piece. It does give you some practice using some augmentation powers early on which was kind of fun.

The gameplay remains solid throughout, with the stealth action feeling really good.

You always have a few different ways to accomplish your goals, depending on how you’ve managed your augmentation upgrades. I leaned heavily on hacking anything I could see (doors, computers, cameras, etc.) and sneaking in through vents and open windows, but had some fun with the Glass Shield aug, which renders you invisible for a short period of time. The fact that there is an option for almost any augmentation load out is really a feat in game and level design.

Flashback and then Focus
The game opens up with a nice cinematic recap of all of the events leading up to the start of Mankind Divided which was nice since I didn’t want to spend the time finishing my play through of Human Revolution (which after finishing, I’ll probably go back and finish it now).

The story is well paced, leaving you with plenty of motivation (and opportunity) to pursue meaningful side quests in addition to the main story line. The main story does a good job of keeping the action going, and giving you a reason to pursue the mystery to it’s conclusion.

The bad guys are pretty much in line with your standard mystery/action story tropes, but they are all believable and fit into the story/world well. My only complaint is that the voice acting can be really inconsistent. Some NPCs are well voiced and their dialogue fits naturally with the character and their role. Others, not so much. Some seem forced and as if they were an afterthought – or a budget decision. Overall, it’s fine, but there are just a few that kind of stick out in a bad way.

One of the big differences between this and its predecessor is the focus of the story. While I haven’t finished Human Revolution, my understanding is that the story was very deep and sweeping. Mankind Divided is a fairly narrow storyline, focusing in on one incident and its related fallout. I have read some complaints about the story, but overall I thought it was pretty good although it did leave me wanting more.

Technically Speaking…
Graphically, this game is really pretty. The environments are full of life and look lived in. The character models are mostly good looking, although I did notice some sync issues with movements and voices. Overall, not too disappointing, especially with how great the environments are. While exploring Prague I was constantly reminded of Half Life 2, with how the environment looked and felt – in a good way.

The load screens are VERY long, but you only get them when you first fire up the game or when you die. When travelling by train in Prague, the loading screens are replaced with a (relatively) short cut scene of Agent Jensen riding the train. There are NO loading screens when entering buildings, sewers, or any other locations in the area you’re traversing. Its nice when you’re only getting punished when you die.

Verdict: 8.5
This game was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. I had a good time with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but it didn’t blow my mind – probably because I played it 5 years later. The gameplay is fantastic, with controls that feel good and stealth action that is satisfying throughout. The story is better than Metal Gear Solid V, but it’s not the best I’ve played. The story itself is well written but some of the characters are lacking, which hurt it some. The environments are amazing and I ran into few, if any glitches outside of dialogue/mouth movement mismatches. The character models are just average, but because the rest of the game looked great, I was able to see beyond that minor flaw.

The cherry on top of Mankind Divided for me was the freedom to accomplish tasks in any number of ways. I was able to play almost any mission in whichever way suited my player load out, which kept me thoroughly engaged in the game throughout my experience.

I’d definitely recommend playing this game and, with it recently showing up on the discount rack, you have no excuses!

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